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DEWA highlights efforts to make Dubai happiest city on earth

posted on 12/02/2015: 2261 views

Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD and CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), has participated in a plenary session entitled UAE Smart Cities Outlook, at the Government Summit 2015, which is being held under the patronage and in the presence of Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Al Tayer highlighted DEWA's efforts to achieve the Smart Dubai initiative, launched by Sheikh Mohammed to make Dubai the happiest city on earth, and which provides the most efficient and seamless experience, and is the safest place for residents and visitors.

Falah Al Ahbabi, Director General of Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council, and Hussain Nasser Lootah, Director General of Dubai Municipality, also participated in the plenary session.

"According to the vision of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, a smart city is a city that makes people happy, makes their lives easier, and improves living standards. It is efficient in using its resources and provides seamless and integrated services. A smart city is a place for creative and empowered people who live in a cohesive society, works within a sustainable and competitive economic system, and adopts global standards using the latest technologies and creative innovations. His Highness launched the Smart Dubai initiative to make Dubai the happiest city on earth. Technological creativity and innovation is a key enabler that ensures a stimulating and creative environment for the optimal use of available resources in smart cities. It creates a social communications system, and an efficient and an easy-to-use infrastructure for services, such as transportation, communications, electricity, water, and educational services," said Al Tayer.

"One of the main foundations for the transition into smart cities is to develop a leadership vision, turn it into a plan, and measure its progress. Other elements include safety, seamlessness, awareness, and the impact to create a happy life for the people. The success of smart transition requires a stimulating and efficient environment that attracts investments, has efficient connections, and integrated urban planning, creative people," he said.

When asked about why technology is not always the only solution to transform cities into smart ones, the lessons learned in selecting and adopting IT infrastructure at the city level, and what its impact on the standards of living of citizens and residents are, Al Tayer replied, "Technology is a key element for transforming cities into smart ones. Used effectively and efficiently, technological innovation promotes a happy lifestyle for citizens and residents. It makes the smart city the favourite place to live and work. A smart city attracts investments, becomes a tourist attraction, and becomes a global role model.

He noted that DEWA has been building sustainable systems that adopt technological innovation to improve the efficiency of its electricity and water infrastructure according to the highest international standards, which helps create an advanced competitive economy. For example, "we have managed to increase efficiency of energy generation by 22% between 2006 and 2014, using the latest technologies and adopting technological innovations. DEWA has surpassed leading European and American companies by reducing losses in power transmission and distribution networks to 3.4%, compared to 6-7% in Europe and the USA. Water network losses decreased to 9%, compared to 15% in North America, achieving leading global results in reducing water losses. DEWA's results are among the best internationally for customer minutes lost per year. DEWA's figures reached 4.9 minutes in 2014, compared to 15 minutes recorded by leading utilities in the European Union."

"Besides technology, people who are creative and empowered are the cornerstone of the transformation into a smart city. Other factors include governance, sustainable environmental awareness, and providing seamless information within integrated and interconnected smart applications that reach the people anytime, anywhere. For example, our plan for Dubai in terms of smart grids will be both integrated and unique," he said.

"DEWA has developed the smart grid strategy: a key component of a smart city. We have developed plans and programmes for demand side management, energy efficiency and operational improvement under the smart grid strategy. These programmes include advanced metering infrastructure, asset management, demand-side management, distribution automation, information technology infrastructure, substation automation, system integration, telecommunications, and efficiency, reliability, and availability of energy supplies," he added.

"One of the most important factors for the success of smart cities is the seamlessness and availability of round-the-clock integrated and connected services that meet daily living requirements. In 2009, DEWA started its smart transformation", Al Tayer noted.

He added that it was the first government plan to achieve a 100% smart transformation, less than a year after the Smart Dubai initiative was announced. Adoption of smart services was 60% last year. DEWA's smart app, which was launched in 2010, provides over 150 services and features that makes life easier for everyone, including people with special needs by enabling them to complete their transactions anytime, anywhere.

Al Tayer said future cities are different from traditional cities in their indicators, performance, and efficiency. Smart cities will undoubtedly contribute to enhancing the economic competitiveness of the country. Availability and seamlessness of services contribute to efficiency of service delivery and doing business. This has a positive impact on improving living standards and attracting investments and capital, establishing Dubai's position as a global hub for trade, finance, tourism and green economy, enhancing its competitiveness and pushing forward development.

He underlined that diversifying the energy mix and ensuring its sustainability is one of the key foundations in the transition towards a smart and sustainable city. This includes renewable energy sources and implementing energy side management programmes in smart cities, which contribute to a diversified and sustainable economy in the smart city. The energy demand side programme is set to reduce energy demand by 30% by 2030. The present value of costs for these strategic projects will be approximately Dh 30 billion, while present value of savings will be about Dh 82 billion, a net present value of Dh 52 billion, achieving positive economic returns.

"The UAE, represented by DEWA, moved from 10th position in 2011, to 7th in 2013 and then jumped to 4th position globally and 1st in the Middle East and North Africa in 2014 and 2015 in getting electricity, according to the World Bank's Doing Business Report. Now, we aim to reach the first place globally," said Al Tayer.

Discussing his plans for the city of the future and how this has progressed, Al Tayer said, "We have a vision for the future city, and a clear commitment to the directives of our leadership. We have made clear progress and we intend to make Dubai the smartest city in the world within 3 years. The city of the future is smart, integrated, connected and uses its resources sustainably, enjoys sustainable economic growth, its inhabitants are educated, cultured, healthy, and live in an inclusive and cohesive society. It is proactive and creative in meeting the needs of individuals and society, which in total, makes people happier, is a sustainable city that efficiently uses its resources, provides seamless integrated services, is safe to live in, and is a unique experience for living and business." – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


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